How to Catch Aquarium Fish Like a Pro
One of the more frustrating parts of the aquarium hobby is trying to catch or move your fish. Just try chasing around fast and slippery fish using a flimsy net with a ton of aquarium decorations in the way. Our years of experience in running aquarium fish stores have taught us a lot about how to catch the correct number of fish and what kind of fish they are. Our favorite way to net fish saves time and keeps your fish happy.
Before you start…
Aquarium nets may not be the same. Make sure you have the right tools for the job. Make sure the net is free of holes or tears that might allow the animals to escape. A larger net will allow you to catch your target more easily and cover a greater surface area. Also, consider what kind of fish you are trying to catch. To prevent shrimp and baby fry from escaping, use a net made with fine mesh. An aquarium net with coarse mesh, or tiny holes, is better if you’re chasing smarter fish like African cichlids, loaches and rainbowfish. This reduces drag in the water and allows for faster movement.
Aquarium Co-Op fishnets have a coarse mesh to reduce water drag and strong carbon fiber handles that won’t flex. There are no metal parts to prevent rusting.
The Best Way to Catch Aquarium Fish
Let’s now discuss the correct technique. Remain calm, collected, and cool. If you get too agitated, then your movements can communicate your anxiety to the fish, making them more likely to become stressed.
1. Avoid standing or towering over the fish tank as some fish might perceive you as a predator. If the tank is low to the ground, get a stool that allows you to sit down at their level. 2. Hold the net closer to the net rim and not at the very end of the handle. This position allows you to move faster and gives you more control. 3. Set a trap so that the net is facing one of the front corners of the tank. 1. This example uses the left corner. Place the net so that the right edge is flush against the glass, and the bottom against the ground. 2. This arrangement allows the fish to swim in the net by leaving an opening at the left edge. 3. If it’s more convenient, you can also use large pieces from fish tank decorations to set your trap.
To set the trap in the front left corner, place the net on the ground and keep the right side of the net tight against the tank wall. The only way fish can enter is from the left side of the net.
1. Fish nets are slower than your hands so use one hand to “chase the fish” into the trap, while the net remains mostly in place. 1. Put your hand in the water, with fingers open to make the fish appear larger. 2. Move your hand toward the tank’s front left corner after the sweep is complete to allow the fish to enter the net. 3. Your hand must be higher than the aquarium’s top to stop fish escape.
While one hand holds the net handle in place, the other hand will be used to sweep the fish around the tank from the left to the right. Once the fish reach the left wall of the aquarium, push your hand towards the front left corner so that they naturally swim away from you and enter the net.
1. As soon as the fish enter the net, swing the trap shut so that the left edge of the net is also flat against the front glass.
Once you have caught the fish you want, close the trap to ensure that the net rim touches the aquarium’s front wall.
1. Keep the desired fish in the net while letting the unwanted fish swim out of the net. 1. Move the fish you want deeper into the net. Your hand should be against the glass in order to get the fish to swim deeper into the net. You can gently move the net from one side to another if necessary to keep them hidden. 2. To release the fish you don’t want, lift the net rim slightly from the glass. 3. If all of the fish (including the unwanted ones) keep swimming deeper into the net, you can use your hand or finger to push or chase out the unwanted fish.
In this case, we want to keep the powder blue dwarf gourami but release the red platy. The net was opened slightly to the right, and we gently guided the platy through.
1. Keep the net in the water for as long possible. 1. Avoid rotating the net horizontally when removing the fish from the water. It can cause panic and increase the chances that they will jump. 2. Instead, drag the net vertically out of the water. This causes the mesh of the net to drop and traps the fish. 3. The more times you lift the net in and out of the water, the more scared the fish may become, which in turn makes them harder to catch.
Slide the fish net vertically from the water, so it is flush against the tank wall as long as you can. This method causes the net mesh to drop downwards, trapping the fish in the net and minimizing their chances of escape.
This video will help you to better understand the technique.
If your fish are still struggling to net their aquarium fish, you might consider taking out some fish tank ornaments or hardscape. This will remove any obstructions and allow for more movement. If you have a planted aquarium and it is difficult to move the aquarium plants, lower the water level so the fish can’t swim over the net. Don’t forget about our favorite aquarium net for catching fish.